Meet Our Educators
Ms. Leah Bader
Leah Bader earned her Bachelor in Science from York University in Toronto, Ontario, and her Master’s degree in Biology from New York University. She is a recipient of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grant for Clinical Research with which she conducted research in the pediatric tumor biology laboratory at Columbia University. Leah was recently recognized as one of 19 outstanding women named to Prizmah’s Rising Leaders Cohort.
Ms. Lisa Bambino
Ms. Bambino received her BA from Barnard College with a major in history and a minor in sociology. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her Masters from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After practicing law on behalf of the homeless, she taught at The Windward School, the Shefa School, and Westchester Day School.
Mr. Gilad Bargil
Gilad Bargil earned his M.A. in public management and education from Bar Ilan University. Most recently, Gilad served as the head of the pre-Army academy that he established in Lod. He has also lectured about leadership, society, and citizenship.
Mr. Yossi Ben-Harush
Mr. Yossi Ben-Harush received his BA and MA from The Hebrew University with a major in Jewish Thought and Philosophy. Currently pursuing a PhD in Jewish thought and history from Ben Gurion University. Yossi previously taught Talmud, Halakha and Jewish Thought in Hartman High School for Boys in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Kenneth Birnbaum
Rabbi Kenneth Birnbaum is the Music Department Chair and the Ninth Grade GLC (Grade Level Coordinator) at SAR High School. He holds a B.A. in music education from Queens College, an M.A. in music education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and semikha from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.
Rabbi Avi Bloom
Ms. Russi Bohm
Ms. Russi Bohm is the SAR High School nurse. She received her B.S. in Nursing from Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing. This is her 15th year at SAR High School, where she also serves as the co- coordinator for the Communities that Care Initiative for Machon Siach at SAR High School.
Mr. Michael Courtney
Michael Courtney has been a member of the College Counseling team since 2007. He also leads the school’s Senior Exploration project and coaches the JV Boys Basketball and Varsity Softball teams. He co-chairs the school’s and yeshiva high school Guiding Good Choices.
Ms. Nancy Edelman
Ms. Nancy Edelman teaches English at SAR High School. She has had a long career in Jewish education, the bulk of it spent as an English and art history teacher as well as curriculum director at TABC.Before coming to SAR, she was the founding head of humanities at the Idea School. She was the recipient of the 2015 Teaneck Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year award and experienced 30 minutes of national fame as a Jeopardy contestant in 2021. Ms. Edelman received her BA in English at UCLA, and her MA in the Teaching of English at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Qiao Feng
Dr. Qiao Feng received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Peking University, Beijing, China. He went to graduate school at Columbia University, where he earned a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences. During his graduate studies, Dr. Feng did neuroscience research and worked as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate neuroscience course.
Mr. Simon Fleischer
Mr. Simon Fleischer joined the SAR staff in 2004 and serves as the Co-Chair of the English Department. He received his B.A. from Columbia University and has his M.A. and M.Phil in English Literature from Fordham University. His work with Machon Siach has involved research into sex education in Yeshiva High Schools, and he serves as faculty for a variety of adult education classes.
Alicia Germano received her B.S. in chemistry and her M.A. in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh. She was a science teacher, grade level coordinator and department chair at SAR High School before moving on to a new school in 2023
Dr. Hillel Gruenberg
Dr. Hillel Gruenberg received a PhD in History and Jewish Studies from NYU in 2014, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Law at Binghamton University in 2006, and also spent a year of graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Before coming to SAR, Hillel spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and four years as the Director of Israel Engagement at JTS and Hebrew Union College.
Rabbi Shmuel Hain
Rabbi Hain is Rosh Beit Midrash at SAR HS and Rabbi of YIOZ of North Riverdale/Yonkers. He recently served as the Daniel Jeremy Silver Fellow and as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Zev Hait
Rabbi Zev Hait teaches Judaic studies at SAR Academy. Outside of the classroom Zev has served on the administration at Camp Moshava, he co-founded “BAbayit” -- a young professionals community on the Upper West Side, and he co-founded and directed the Machon Siach Graduate Fellowship at SAR High School. Zev has a B.A. from Brandeis University and received rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar.
Rabbi Tully Harcsztark
Rabbi Harcsztark is the Founding Principal of SAR High School and Dean of Machon Siach. He is the recipient of the 2017 Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot
Rabbi Helfgot is chair of the Department of Torah SheBaal Peh at SAR High School, serves as Rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Teaneck, and is an adjunct faculty member at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He taught for many years at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education as well as serving on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Program.
Dr. Tammy Jacobowitz
Dr. Jacobowitz is the chair of the Tanakh Department at SAR High School and is the founding director of Makom B'Siach at SAR.
Ms. Rebecca Jaffe
Ms. Jaffe studied Psychology at Boston University. After graduating, she worked at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and then at the JCC in Manhattan. She holds a Masters in Childhood and Adolescent Special Education from Hunter College and is certified in both general and special education. Before joining SAR's faculty, Ms. Jaffe was a middle school teacher at the Churchill School and Center.
Mr. Lee Joffe
Lee Joffe is SAR High School’s Athletic Director. He received his BA from Wilmington University with a major in Sports Management and played Division II Basketball at the University of New Haven. He has coached for the Maccabi Games since 2012, including for the Maccabi USA Basketball team, which took home the Gold. He lives in Westchester with his wife and two young sons.
Ms. Chana Krasnjanski
Ms. Chana Krasnjanski received her BA in English from Brooklyn College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College with a concentration in Education. She has taught at Bais Rivkah of Crown Heights, Yeshiva of Flatbush, and the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School.
Mr. Alon Krausz
Alon Krausz Received a B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters degree in Math Education from NYU. Mr. Krausz has been in the SAR family since September 2002, starting in the Academy before moving to the High School. Prior to that, he taught math and economics at the Solomon Schechter High School of NY for five years. Alon is also the founder of the Jewish Outdoors Club and enjoys sharing the beauty and thrills of the great outdoors with his students.
Rabbi Jonathan Kroll
Rabbi Jonathan Kroll, a founding staff member at SAR High School, returned in 2019 as principal after six years as Head of School at Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida. He received his B.A. from Yeshiva College, his semikha from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and an M.A. in secondary education from the Azrieli Graduate School.
Rabbi Danny Kroll
Rabbi Danny Kroll is the Assistant Principal of SAR High School, overseeing student activities, chesed, athletics and co-curricular activities. He was ordained at RIETS and holds a B.A. in Psychology from Yeshiva College as well as an M.S. in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Education and Administration.
Mr. Assaf Kugler
Assaf Kugler is a Hebrew teacher at SAR high school and an author.
Ms. Elianna Mitnick
Ms. Elianna Mitnick, a Judaic Studies Teacher and an Israel Guidance Advisor at SAR High School, is currently a doctoral student at JTS. She graduated from the honors program at Stern College for Women where she received her BA and went on to receive master degrees from both the Revel and Azrieli graduate programs of Yeshiva University.
Dr. Victor Parkinson
Dr. Parkinson earned a PhD in physics from Tufts University in 2014, specializing in quantum field theory and cosmology. He has taught physics at Salem State University and Wentworth Institute of Technology, and he founded the physics program at Excel Academy Charter High School.
Dr. Rivka Press Schwartz
Dr. Schwartz serves as Associate Principal, General Studies at SAR High School, and as a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She earned her Ph.D. in the history of science from Princeton University.
Ms. Shira Schiowitz
Ms. Shira Schiowitz is a Tanakh teacher and mentor. She spent most of her teaching years at Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School and was one of the founders of Lamdeinu in Teaneck. Shira received her BA from Stern College and her MA in Bible from Bernard Revel Graduate School.
Dr. Laura Shaw Frank
Dr. Laura Shaw Frank serves as AJC's Director of Contemporary Jewish Life. She holds a PhD in Jewish history from the University of Maryland, College Park and is a former SAR High School faculty member. A graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law Schools, Dr. Shaw Frank was a corporate litigator before she became a Jewish educator.
Ms. Adina Shoulson
Adina Shoulson chairs the SAR High School History Department. Adina received her B.A. from Columbia University and earned her MA in the NYU Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.
Ms. Ariella Simpson
Ms. Ariella Simpson chairs the SAR High School Math Department faculty. She received her B.A. in Mathematics from Stern College, Yeshiva University and a Master's degree from Columbia University, Teacher's College in Math Education.
Mr. David Steere
Mr. David Steere received his B.A. from Princeton University in Psychology and M.A. in History and Education from Hunter College. Mr. Steere teaches U.S. History, AP U.S. History, and AP Comparative Government and Politics at SAR High School.
Mr. Eli Steier
Mr. Steier is part of the Student Learning Center Faculty (SLC) at SAR High School. He graduated from The Bronx High School of Science and earned his B.A. and M.A.T. from SUNY Stony Brook. Additionally, he is a published poet and is currently enrolled in Rabbi Chaim Brovender's Halacha Mastery program.
Dr. Gillian Steinberg
Dr. Gillian Steinberg teaches in the English Department at SAR High School and co-directs SAR's Professional Development program. She is the creator of teachingwritingbetter.com.
Ms. Miriam Szafranski
Ms. Shuli Taubes
Ms. Shuli Taubes is the chair of the Machshevet Yisrael department and teaches Tanakh, Comparative Religion, Jewish Identity and Health at SAR High School. Shuli received her Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Harvard Divinity School and her BA in history from Barnard College.
Ms. Zissy Turner
Zissy Turner serves on the Judaic Studies faculty at S.A.R High School in Riverdale, NY, teaching Tanakh and Gemara. She is 9th Grade Student Dean, and directs the Machon Siach Graduate Fellowship, a project of SAR High School’s research institute. Zissy is certified as a Yoetzet Halakha through Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center. She is a graduate of Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program in Advanced Talmud Study (GPATS), where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar. Zissy is currently learning advanced halakha in Ohr Torah Stone’s International Halakha Scholars Program. She has taught in diverse communities across the United States and Great Britain, sharing her love for Torah and Mitzvot with Jews in all stages of life. She lives in Riverdale, NY with her husband and daughter.
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Wadler
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Wadler received his BA from Yeshiva College, his MA in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, and semikhah from RIETS. He has a PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. Shlomo taught Tanakh and Hebrew at Yeshiva University as well as at the University of Notre Dame before joining the SAR faculty.
Ms. Merav Zuriel
Merav Zuriel studied at Yad Ben Zvi Institute and received her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama. Ms. Zuriel received her B.A. and B.Ed. from Orot Israel College. She taught literature and history at Yeshiva Elkhanah for more than ten years before joining SAR High School.
Ms. Dalene Beaulieu
Rabbi Joseph Beyda
Rabbi Joseph Beyda is the principal of Yeshiva of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School. Rabbi Beyda holds a B.S. in Accounting from Yeshiva University, an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Brooklyn College, and Semicha from Sephardic College of Rabbinical Studies.
Professor Avi Helfand
Dr. Michael (Avi) Helfand is an associate professor at Pepperdine University School of Law and co-director of Pepperdine University’s Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. Professor Helfand is an executive board member of the Beth Din of America, where he also serves as a consultant on the enforceability of rabbinical arbitration agreements and awards in U.S. courts.
Dr. Sarit Kattan Gribetz
Sarit Kattan Gribetz is Associate Professor in the Theology Department at Fordham University and Co-director of Fordham’s Center for Jewish Studies. Her first book, Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism, received a National Jewish Book Award. She lives in Riverdale with her husband and children.
Dr. Michael Koplow
Dr. Michael Koplow is the Policy Director of the Israel Policy Forum and senior research fellow of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University, a B.A. from Brandeis University, a J.D. from New York University, and an A.M. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University.
Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth is the director of Mosaica, an Israeli NGO advancing community mediation and dialogue in Israel. Much of Roth’s work focuses on the network of insider religious mediators who help prevent, mitigate, and mediate crisis situations throughout Israel, the Middle East, and beyond. Roth also works to connect religious leaders to the roughly 90 community mediation and dialogue centers and initiatives throughout Israel, including 30 in the Arab sector and 16 in mixed Jewish-Arab cities and areas, which Mosaica professionally supports through a tender of the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs called the Gishurim Project.
Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein
Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein is one of the leading scholars in the field of Talmud study today. He is Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature in the New York University Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. His many books and dozens of articles focus on Talmudic stories, the development of Jewish law, the Sukkot festival, and various topics in Jewish liturgy and ethics. He is also a proud SAR HS parent, with two children who are SAR graduates and two children who are current students.
Professor Effie Shoham-Steiner
Prof. Ephraim (Effie) Shoham-Steiner is a historian specializing in Medieval Jewish History. He is an associate professor at the Department of Jewish History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er-Shevah Israel (BGU). He is also the director of The Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters at BGU. His research focuses on the social aspects of Jewish history with a special interest in social information that can be extracted from rabbinic source material from medieval Western Europe.
Elana Stein Hain
Mr. Jake Trumbo
Mr. Jake Trumbo is a project coordinator at Bach Harrison, L.L.C, a company that offers survey, research and evaluation services. In addition to his work with Bach-Harrison, Mr. Trumbo has been featured in many theatrical productions and a number of movies.
Honorable Robert Wexler
The Honorable Robert Wexler is the President of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC. He served as a Democratic member of Congress from 1997 to 2010, representing Florida's 19th district in the House of Representatives. Congressman Wexler was an advisor on Middle East and Israel issues to President Barack Obama and addressed the Democratic National Convention outlining the President's policies related to Israel.
Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier
Shlomo Zuckier is a Research Associate at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a Ra”m at Stern College. He completed a PhD in Religious Studies at Yale University as well as studies in Yeshiva University's Kollel Elyon. Shlomo served as Coordinator of the Machon Siach Gemara Education Faculty Beit Midrash from 2020-2023. Shlomo is a Founder of The Lehrhaus and was formerly Director of OU-JLIC at Yale University. Shlomo serves on the Editorial Committee of Tradition, is co-editor of Torah and Western Thought: Intellectual Portraits of Orthodoxy and Modernity, and editor of Contemporary Uses and Forms of Hasidut.